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Destroying the Chametz Within and Truly Preparing for Pesach
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Parsha
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Pesach

Posted on: April 12th, 2012

JudaismParsha

On April 14, 1912, at 11:40 p.m., the Titanic struck an iceberg. It sank at 2:20 a.m. on April 15. Thus, this month (both according to the Jewish and secular calendars) marks the centennial of the disaster. Despite the passage of time, the tragedy still fascinates people and continues to be a source of lessons learned - both good and bad.

Miller-Rabbi-Avigdor
 

Pesach: Splitting The Sea

Posted on: April 12th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The miraculous splitting of the Sea of Reeds was one of the pinnacles of Israel’s closeness to Hashem. It raises a question, though: Why? Hashem typically hides His presence somewhat, conducting the world in a discrete way and never revealing His presence so openly. As Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains, this spectacle on the Sea of Reeds was performed with two great purposes in mind.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo
 

How Much Marror Must One Eat?

Posted on: April 12th, 2012

JudaismParsha

In order to fulfill one’s obligation in the mitzvah of matzah, one must eat a k’zayis amount of matzah. This is because the Torah uses the wording of achilah (eating) when it commands the mitzvah of matzah.

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Miller-Rabbi-Avigdor
 

Pesach 5772: Free Forever

Posted on: April 5th, 2012

JudaismParsha

An act never dies. Each word you utter, each mitzvah you do, continues to ring in the world for all eternity. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, teaches it was such an eternal act that was the undoing of Pharaoh and the making of Israel as a nation of holy people.

The-Shmuz
 

Kindliness: A Reflection Of Hashem

Posted on: April 5th, 2012

JudaismParsha

After months and months of rebellion, Pharaoh finally admitted he was wrong. The Dos Zakainim explains that the plague of barad moved Pharaoh more than any other. And it was because of one factor: Moshe had warned him that the hail would kill anything living. Again and again, Moshe cautioned Pharaoh to take his livestock and his slaves inside. Because Pharaoh was repeatedly warned to save the living creatures, he was moved and recognized his error.

 

Why Don’t We Make A Berachah Over Korech?

Posted on: April 5th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The Gemara in Pesachim 115a says that there was a machlokes regarding how one was supposed to eat matzah and marror in the times of the Beis HaMikdash. Hillel said that during those times, when there was a korban Pesach, matzah and marror should be eaten together. His peers argued that they must be eaten separately. The Gemara concludes that since the halacha was not paskened we eat matzah separately, then marror separately, and then both together to accommodate both opinions.

The-Shmuz
 

Ours Is To Question Why…

Posted on: March 29th, 2012

JudaismParsha

After a long and detailed description of the avodah (service) to be done in the Mishkan, the parshah ends with statement that “Aaron and his sons did as they were told.”

Miller-Rabbi-Avigdor
 

Tzav: Holiness And Eating

Posted on: March 29th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The evil inclination likes to tempt us to indulge in material delights. It is important to know that these delights may have another purpose, too: kedushah (holiness).

 

Koshering An Earthenware Utensil

Posted on: March 28th, 2012

JudaismParsha

In this week’s parshah the Torah teaches many of the halachos of the korbanos. Each of the korbanos has a limited amount of time when they may be eaten, after which they become nosar and forbidden.

 

Tackling Tomorrow’s Problems

Posted on: March 28th, 2012

JudaismParsha

In her book The Watchman’s Rattle, subtitled Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction, Rebecca Costa delivers a fascinating account of how civilizations die. Their problems become too complex. Societies reach what she calls a cognitive threshold. They simply can’t chart a path from the present to the future.

Staum-032312-Matzah
 

Parshas Vayikra: ‘The Call Of Humility’

Posted on: March 23rd, 2012

JudaismParsha

“At the time that my wife and I made aliyah, the Ministry of Interior required certification through the chief rabbinate that any new immigrants were Jews in order to qualify for citizenship and immigrant benefits. After an hour-long wait at the ministry to be interviewed, my wife and I sat before a hard-faced clerk. I did not have a letter from a rabbi certifying to my Jewishness, but I felt confident that since I was on the chief rabbinate's list of approved rabbis whose letter would be accepted to verify the Jewishness of others, I would suffer no problem.

Miller-Rabbi-Avigdor
 

Vayikra: The Sacrifice Of Thanksgiving

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012

JudaismParsha

To the modern mind, korbanos may seem foreign or hard to understand. Yet they were a key component of the service of Hashem. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains that offerings served many purposes, including a primary purpose of expressing thanks to Hashem. Thus, following the book of Exodus comes the book dealing with sacrifices as an expression of thanks for the deliverance from slavery in Egypt.

The-Shmuz
 

Things I Do And Things I Don’t

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012

JudaismParsha

The Dos Zakainim explains that the reason every korban must be brought with salt is to remind us that just as salt is a preservative that allows food to last longer, so too the sacrifices are permanently ours to cleanse us from our sins.

 

Geneivah And Gezeilah

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012

JudaismParsha

At the conclusion of this week’s parshah, the Torah discusses the halachos of one who stole from another. The pasuk says, “veheishiv es hagezeilah asher gazal – and he shall return the stolen object that he stole.” We derive from this that there is a mitzvas assei to return a stolen object.

 

Making Sense Of The Sin Offering

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012

JudaismParsha

We think of a sin as something we did intentionally, yielding to temptation perhaps, or in a moment of rebellion. That is what Jewish law calls b’zadon in biblical Hebrew or b’mezid in rabbinic Hebrew. That is the kind of act we would have thought calls for a sin offering. But actually such an act cannot be atoned for by an offering at all. So how do we make sense of the sin offering?

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General Robert E. Lee
 

Parshat Vayakheil-Pikudei

Posted on: March 15th, 2012

JudaismParsha

May 1864 was one of the bloodiest months in American military history. At what came to be known as the Battle of the Wilderness, General Grant’s Union forces suffered close to 18,000 casualties between May 3 and May 6. It seemed as yet another Union general, even one such as Grant who had been successful out west, lost to General Robert E. Lee.

Miller-Rabbi-Avigdor
 

Vayakhel/Pekudei: The Devotion Of Women

Posted on: March 14th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Despite the intense suffering of slavery in Egypt, it was there that Israel became a nation – not just in the spiritual sense, but in the physical sense: it was there that our numbers swelled. This is to the credit of the Jewish women, who despite their oppression at the hands of Egypt relentlessly encouraged the growth of Israel. This provides a glimpse of the greatness of the Jewish women of that generation. Likewise in our times, it is the Jewish woman’s selfless devotion to service of Hashem that builds and sustains Israel.

The-Shmuz
 

Where Are The Gedolim Today?

Posted on: March 14th, 2012

JudaismParsha

Parshas Pikudei begins with a detailed accounting of all of the gold and silver that was collected for the Mishkan. A cursory reading would lead us to assume that while of course a man as great as Moshe was above question, he must have asked for this calculation because public leaders must remove any suspicion no matter how farfetched.

A Jewish family preparing for Shabbat
 

May Beis Din Punish On Shabbos?

Posted on: March 14th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The Rambam, in Hilchos Shabbos 24:7, rules that Beis Din may not carry out the punishment of either death or lashes on Shabbos. He cites the same pasuk of “lo seva’aru” as the source for this halacha. In his Sefer Hamitzvos the Rambam lists as a separate negative commandment (number 322) that Beis Din may not judge or carry out a punishment on Shabbos.

 

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: The Power Of Art

Posted on: March 14th, 2012

JudaismParsha

The name Bezalel was adopted by the artist Boris Schatz for the School of Arts and Crafts he founded in Israel in 1906, and Rav Kook wrote a touching letter in support of its creation. He saw the renaissance of art in the Holy Land as a symbol of the regeneration of the Jewish people in its own land, landscape and birthplace. Judaism in the Diaspora, removed from a natural connection with its own historic environment, was inevitably cerebral and spiritual, “alienated.”

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